INFO 259-11
Preservation Management
Fall 2018 Syllabus

Mahnaz Ghaznavi
Other contact information: Skype handle mahnazghaznavi
Office location: On-line
Office hours: Tuesdays, 5:30 - 6:30 PT and by appointment, on Zoom 

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available starting August 21st at approximately 6 AM PT unless you are taking an intensive, or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course presents an introduction to core principles, frameworks and technologies developed and adopted by libraries and archives to support long-term access to cultural heritage material, from manuscripts and photographs to digital collections.

Because any surface onto which we record our memories invariably suffers from "inherent vice" - a phrase used to describe the inevitable decay of material - we will examine the essential make-up of paper, film, magnetic tape, optical disks and digital material and how best to delay decay through proper handling, reformatting, storage, and disaster planning.

The efficient management of preservation repositories requires a holistic understanding of a repository's holdings and how to manage information about those holdings in meaningful ways. To this end, we will survey preservation standards, methods and tools, such as metadata schema that support long-term access; environmental monitoring devices; condition assessment instruments used to gather and record data about the health of collections for the purposes of planning, prioritizing, costing and reporting; and a number of other established and emerging models and technologies. 

Course content is organized into weekly learning units that support SLIS Course Learning Outcomes and Course Competencies. The units cover:

  • the history and development of preservation scholarship and practice
  • methods for selecting material for archival preservation
  • impediments to the preservation of paper, photographs and film, optical and magnetic media, and digital material, and ways to mitigate risk
  • preservation metadata standards and uses
  • how to conduct a collection needs assessment
  • reformatting best practices
  • repository requirements, workflows and related tools designed to support access to digital objects over time
  • disaster planning
  • policy, program, and project development

Each unit features a recorded lecture, and activities and assignments designed to build skills essential to planning and carrying out preservation initiatives of varying scale and scope. Coursework consists of required reading and viewing, participation in topical discussions, hands-on assignments, and a final project. In synchronous sessions recorded for asynchronous access, guest speakers complement coursework by sharing their experiences from the field.

Course Requirements

To receive credit, students are expected to complete all assignments according to the schedule detailed in the Canvas site for this course.  

In order to complete assignments for this course, students must have access to 

  • a painters mask, gloves, and a book with little personal value for the soak a book assignment;
  • a library or archive manager who is willing to be interviewed for the final assignment.

Assignments and Grading

Assignments for this course: 

  • are designed to demonstrate specific Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) and Core Competencies (CC);
  • consist of hands-on exercises, papers, presentations, and peer-to-peer and student-to-instructor discussions; 
  • each includes a rubric that indicates performance expectations and the criteria that serve as the basis for the assigned grade;
  • that result in a paper must be double‐spaced using a 12‐point font and include a one‐inch margin on all sides; 
  • are required to reference a minimum of three (3) sources drawn from scholarly literature and/or professional resources, with citations in APA format; and,
  • must be submitted by 11:59 pm PT of the due date via the Canvas dropbox unless otherwise instructed.  

Assignments submitted after a stated due date will have one (1) point deducted per day. 

Students unable to complete assignments by stated due dates should contact the instructor at least 24 hours in advance to discuss options.

The final course grade is based on the successful completion of the following, further detailed in the Canvas course site:

Discussion posts/participation 

  • Summarize and take a position on various preservation issues in a discussion forum that requires students to engage one another and the instructor. 
  • Due dates: Aug. 29; Sept. 5; Sept. 26; Oct. 24; Nov. 28
  • Points: 20
  • Course Learning Outcomes: 1 - 7

Appraisal report 

  • Evaluate a collection (supplied by the instructor) for acquisition using criteria developed by professional archivists and make recommendations based on your findings. 
  • Due date: Sept. 12
  • Points: 15
  • Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 7

Soak a book exercise 

  • Immerse a book in water, apply established preservation techniques to dry it and present method and findings (.ppt file and Panopto recording). 
  • Due date: Oct. 10
  • Points: 20
  • Course Learning Outcomes: 3, 6, 7

Repository ingest workflow 

  • Prepare a plan for the acquisition of a collection (supplied by the instructor) by a preservation repository referencing the OAIS model and the tools developed to support it.
  • Due date: Nov. 7
  • Points: 15
  • Course Learning Outcomes: 2, 4, 5, 7

Preservation Assessment and Recommendations 

  • Adapt the worksheets developed by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to profile a repository of your choosing, assess the condition of its collections, and make recommendations.  
  • Due date: Dec. 12
  • Points: 30
  • Course Learning Outcomes: 1 - 7

Dates are subject to change with fair and adequate notice.

Assigned Readings

Mandatory reading and viewing materials, detailed in the Canvas course site, are available via the King Library and the internet.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the evolution of preservation theory and practice.
  2. Identify the decision-making process behind selection for preservation.
  3. Summarize the causes of deterioration of various types of information objects.
  4. Identify key concepts and standards in digital preservation, including the OAIS model and repository development.
  5. Define the principles of a workable preservation policy in libraries, archives, and corporate DAM settings.
  6. Identify and apply disaster planning, prevention, response, and recovery strategies.
  7. Locate and evaluate tools, research, and other resources on preservation.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 259 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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